Youngster Receives Credit For PerformancesNeil McDonald says Luke Higham's emergence in the first-team recently has been a long time coming.
The manager has monitored the 19-year-old's progress all season and has patiently waited for the right opportunity to give him a run-out in the league.
Although quick to admit that his plan was to ease him in, the manager turned to the former academy player earlier this month when injuries struck at left-back.
"Luke has been brilliant, to be fair. I've been waiting to put him in the team when there's been no pressure but we've had a couple of injuries and thrown him in early. He's certainly coped and played well in the last few games," McDonald said.
Higham's performances in the last three games he's started have justified why the manager has kept him with the squad this season, rather than send him out on loan for experience.
"I didn't want him to go out, I've been impressed with what I've seen so far in training and in the games we've played in the Lancashire Senior Cup. As I say, I wanted to put him in the team when the pressure was off so I could see the best of him, but we're certainly seeing the best of him when the pressure's on.
"He's a local lad coming through and that's excellent. Fans want to see local players in the team and he's certainly one of them, fighting for the shirt like everybody else."